The Facebook race to get a client in your inbox. You’ve seen it before. Especially if you are networking for clients online. Someone in a group or on their timeline posts a question that they need an answer to. Immediately I see people say “Inbox Me”. It’s a good strategy. It works but sometimes the service you’re offering may not be the answer they need.
I have been down the road where I thought I needed the perfect website or the perfect theme to get money. But my strategy was off. My niche was off. I didn’t even have a mission or a goal to hit except to make more money.
As a software consultant, one thing I learned from working with different clients is that sometimes a problem they are trying to solve for is really a deeper issue that needs to be fixed first.
Sometimes people will go for tools to make things better but it can be a process or plan that’s really needed. That was the case for me, some cases may even be the opposite.
There are two different questions I ask for every post I see when a person is looking for technical help or advice.
What are your needs?
This is always the case when it comes to a client wanting a website or a particular person.
Yes, it’s essential to have a website and a team when it comes to building your particular business or brand. But in few cases clients should hold off on making these decisions.
I always pushed for building a blog for myself, next thing you know I had 6 different blogs and spent hundreds of dollars on hosting, CMS platform fees, domain fees and mapping fees. Only 2 of those blogs exist today. So what was I missing, a niche.
Sometimes, you can lead clients down the path of buying your services and you can spend the time building out the website and make money. But if the core problem isn’t solved, your client can all of a sudden change paths and cancel everything.
This has happened to me with a client of mine. I was confused, the client was even more confused. It was fixable but after 2 months of making sure the site was perfect, the real issued evolved and time was running out. Everything was brought to a halt. There was such a rush to build a website that there was no time to make sure we had the essentials for that website.
This is also essential to building a team and looking for coaches vs a designer vs an assistant. Building relationships are extremely important and one thing you absolutely do not want to do is waste someone else’s time. I learned this lesson the hard way too.
When someone asks for a certain role, it’s best to go more into detail of what their expectations are for that person. This is good for many reasons. One is to count yourself out or in pending on what exactly they want. Another reason is to recommend others or make sure they are looking for the right type of person. For example, all web designers do not code. Some do research and strategy, some actually code, some can create mockups and designs, some are graphic designers and can create logos. Sometimes a client can ask for a role that is a umbrella term, but digging into their needs not only help them but also help you appear more as an expert in working with customers who need help.
What problem are you solving for?
This can also refer to wanting a website and also this can be related to those who want to start a business. This question opens the door to a lot of brainstorming from the customer and reaching an niche that they can dig into. If a client is dead set on what exactly they need, asking this question can help you give them a strategy, solution or plan to directly solve their immediate needs. This initial conversations can help create a relationship where they trust you.
If someone struggles to answer this question, it can become key for coaches, strategist and consultants. Especially if the person answering is trying to build a business or promote their business. The conversation can become a new learning opportunity for the person who needed a particular service and can lead to a potential new relationship and customer of yours.